IDF to recommend Boeing helicopter over Sikorsky

Funding for the procurement is to come from part of the memorandum of understanding signed last September between Jerusalem and Washington.

March 5, 2018 07:16
1 minute read.
IDF to recommend Boeing helicopter over Sikorsky

A Canadian Boeing CH-47 Chinook is seen. The IDF recommends that the IAF replace its aging Yasur fleet with these Boeing tandem-rotor transport helicopters. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

The IDF Ground Forces Command plans to recommend Boeing’s CH-47 Chinook tandem-rotor helicopter to the Israel Air Force as it modernizes its heavy-lift helicopter fleet, a senior officer has said.

Speaking to reporters during a briefing in central Israel last week, the senior officer said the command will recommend the Chinook over Lockheed Martin’s CH-53K King Stallion by Sikorsky, which is the main competition in the contract to replace Israel’s aging Yasur helicopters.

The Yasur helicopters were first used by the IAF in 1969 and are the air force’s primary aircraft to transport soldiers and are used regularly. While they have been upgraded with 20 new electronic systems and missile defense systems, the IAF will still need to replace them by 2025 when they will be over 50 years old.

Both Sikorsky and Boeing have long histories of providing Israel with military equipment and are vying for the contract that will pit the Chinook, a veteran twin-engine, tandem-rotor transport helicopter, against the CH-53K by Sikorsky, the same maker of the Yasur.

Funding for the procurement is to come from part of the memorandum of understanding signed last September between Jerusalem and Washington that would provide Israel with $38 billion in military assistance over the next decade.

The Chinook is an advanced and versatile multi-role and multi-mission helicopter which features a full digital management system in the cockpit. In service in 19 different countries, including Canada, Japan, Italy, Greece, and the United Arab Emirates, it is a heavy-lift helicopter used mainly for troop transport, artillery placement and battlefield resupply.

According to Boeing, the current modernization programs will ensure that the Chinook will continue flying in the US Army fleet (US Army, US Army Reserve, National Guard) through the 2030s.

The company also started development of an upgrade of the US Army’s CH-47 Chinook fleet, with plans for delivering to the US 542 upgraded helicopters from 2023 into the 2040s. Along with structural modifications, these aircrafts will have new advanced design composite rotor blades that will allow for the maximum gross weight to increase from 50,000 pounds to 54,000 pounds and its payload to increase from 19,278 pounds to 22,207 pounds.

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